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Tigers Teach student receives prestigious scholarship
By Laura Fenton

NeubertWith $1,000, University of Memphis junior Allison Neubert could buy 6,708 ballpoint pens, 418 packs of notebook paper or 32,293 sheets of construction paper for classroom supplies. Luckily, she has time to decide what to do with the funding because she won't receive the money — given as part of a prestigious nationwide scholarship — until after graduation.

Neubert, a mathematics major and a participant in the Tigers Teach program, is one of 66 students nationwide to be named as a recipient of the 2012 STEM Teachers for America’s Future Scholarship given by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) International and the AFCEA Educational Foundation.

The award comes with a $5,000 scholarship and a $1,000 grant each year for the first three years while a recipient teaches STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) classes. The grant can be applied to things like classroom tools, computer software, or field trips.

"I was not expecting to receive the award, but it was a wonderful surprise," Neubert said. "Many people apply, but only about 50 people get the award, so it is a great honor."

To be eligible, a student must be a U.S. citizen, have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 or higher, be a sophomore, junior or senior, attend an accredited U.S. college or university, and major in secondary education or a STEM field for the purpose of teaching STEM subjects in a U.S. middle or secondary school.

The scholarships are made possible by contributions from Booz Allen Hamilton, Terremark Worldwide, AFCEA International and several of AFCEA's regional chapters.

As a member of Tigers Teach, Neubert takes undergraduate classes while also logging time as a student teacher in area schools. Tigers Teach is a program that allows students to get secondary teaching licensure in biology, chemistry, mathematics or physics as part of a bachelor's degree. Students graduate as a licensed teacher, but don't have to commit to teaching.

The program is unique in that Tigers Teach participants are in real classrooms working with real students from their first course. Students do not need to begin the program as freshmen.

“Through the Tigers Teach program, it confirmed to me that teaching is what I want to do," Neubert said. “I think the most beneficial part of Tigers Teach is the field experience that you get right off the bat.”

Created in 2009, Tigers Teach is a replication of a University of Texas program that was started 10 years ago. It’s funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission by way of the U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top initiative.